This easy Pasta Carbonara recipe can be put together in just 30 minutes. It is full of flavor with green peas, crispy bacon, and a creamy carbonara sauce. Your family will beg for this for dinner and it easy enough to make it anytime.
Pasta carbonara s the ultimate Italian family dinner meal. That has lots of flavor and is perfect for a busy family on the go. It is easy enough for a weeknight family dinner. But elegant enough that you could serve it at your next dinner party.
My favorite thing about pasta carbonara is that you can customize it to your liking. Traditional carbonara does not include peas, but I love the extra flavor and texture that it adds. You can also add cream as I did, or you can keep it more authentic and use pasta water. I have even seen people add mushrooms and other vegetables.
Pasta Carbonara Ingredients
- Bacon: I prefer to use bacon, but you can substitute it with pancetta to make it more authentic.
- Water: Plain ole tap water will work just fine.
- Pasta: If prefer to use a long pasta like spaghetti
- Cheese: Use freshly shredded Parmesan cheese not the dried stuff in a bottle. The texture and flavor will not be the same.
- Peas: I like to use frozen peas
- Eggs: Make sure to use large eggs
- Garlic: I like to use fresh minced or Minced Garlic in a jar. It adds so much more flavor than powdered garlic.
- Salt & Black Pepper: Add to taste and just remember you can always add more but can’t remove once added.
- Heavy Cream: For the best flavor I like heavy cream. but, to lighten it up you can use half and half.
- Parsley, for garnish
How To Make Pasta Carbonara
- Start off by getting a large pot and adding 8 cups of water to it. Add a pinch of salt and let the water come to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil cut the bacon into 1/2 inch strips. Then get a large skillet and put over medium-high heat.
- Add the bacon to the preheated skillet and cook until it is completely browned. As soon as the bacon is done remove the pan from heat. With a slotted spoon remove bacon and place on a paper towel to drain, set aside. Save 1 tablespoon of bacon rendering in the pan and dispose of the rest.
- Now add the spaghetti noodles to the boiling water and cook one minute less than the directions on the box, or until cooked al dente.
- Grab a medium bowl and add two large eggs. Then separate the yolk from the remaining 4 eggs and add the yolk to the bowl. Add ground black pepper, salt, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. Whisk together the ingredients and set them aside.
- Place skillet back on the stove and turn heat to medium-low. Add garlic to bacon renderings and saute for 30 seconds. This should be just enough to brown the garlic. Add peas to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, or until they have completely thawed.
- Drain al dente spaghetti, then place cooked spaghetti in the skillet. Slowly pour carbonara sauce mixture over noodles while tossing to coat noodles. Add bacon back to the skillet and toss to incorporate
- Remove from heat and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Continue to toss spaghetti until the sauce has thickened. When plating the pasta add additional Parmesan cheese and parsley to pasta carbonara.
What Kind Of Pasta Should I Use?
Really you can use any kind of pasta that you like. Carbonara is the sauce that the pasta is coated in and not the noodles. I like to make mine with a thick spaghetti or fettuccine noodle. But, you can use just about any pasta that you have on hand and it will turn out delicious.
Recipe Success Tips
- Use Room Temperature Eggs: If you don’t have time to let the eggs reach room temperature on their own. Add them to a medium bowl with warm water. Do not get the water to warm or it will cook the eggs. Let the eggs sit in the water for 5-10 minutes to bring them to temp.
- Pasta Firmness: Cook the pasta so that it is a little firm or al dente. This recipe tastes best when it has a little bite to the noodles.
- Do Not Rinse The Pasta: The starch from the pasta helps thicken the sauce for the pasta. This is a very important step in the recipe.
- Save Pasta Water: If you would like to have it so there is more sauce. Save one cup of pasta water after cooking the noodles. Slowly pour and mix it into the pasta until you reach your desired consistency.
- Remove The Pan From The Heat: If your pan or sauce is to hot when adding the egg in. Your carbonara will not have a smooth consistency. So before adding the egg in, remove the pan from the burner and then add in the egg.
- Serve While Hot: This recipe is best when served immediately after you make it.
Can I Use A Different Type Of Cheese?
Yes, I prefer to use Parmesan cheese because you can get it at most grocery stores. But, you can use any hard Italian cheese like Ramano or fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. You could also use a blend of the two for extra flavor.
How To Make This An Authentic Pasta Carbonara
The Sauce: When making a traditional carbonara recipe it does not contain heavy cream. I added heavy cream because I like my carbonara sauce creamy. To make it more authentic you will need to remove the heavy cream and replace it with 1/2 cup of pasta water. Before draining the pasta noodles scoop out 1 cup of water and set it aside. It is nice to have a little extra on hand. Just in case you want to thin out the sauce. If your water has cooled before adding it to the dish. Heat it up in the microwave as this is what will cook the eggs.
The Protein: I also like to use bacon because I always have it on hand. But, if you want a truly authentic dish. Replace the bacon with pancetta or guanciale. Both of these are quite salty, so you may want to remove the salt completely from the recipe.
How To Reheat
The best way to reheat pasta carbonara is in a skillet. Put the past in a skillet and cook on medium-high. Cook until the pasta is completely reheated. Make sure to toss the pasta through the entire reheating process. If the pasta is dried out from cooking you can add a tablespoon of heavy cream or a teaspoon of olive oil. Toss and repeat until the pasta is no longer dry.
Some Other Great Italian Dishes You May Like
- Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala – So easy!
- Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes – The perfect side dish.
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta – Just the right amount of spice.
- Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta – So creamy!
- Best Baked Ziti Recipe
Originally posted June 6th 2020 and updated on April 14th 2021.
- 8-10 Slices bacon cut into ½ pieces
- 8 Cups water
- 1 Pound spaghetti
- 3 Cloves garlic , minced
- 2 Large eggs
- 4 Large egg yolks
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ Cup heavy cream
- 1¼ Cups finely grated Pamesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley , for garnish
- 1 Cup frozen peas
- Preheat a large skillet on medium high, add the bacon and cook it until it is browned. As soon as the bacon is done remove pan from heat. With a slotted spoon remove bacon and place on paper towel to drain, set aside. Save 1 Tablespoon of bacon rendering in pan and dispose of the rest.
- Boil 8 cups of water with a dash of salt in a large pot. Then, the add spaghetti and cook one minute less than the directions on the box, or until cooked al dente.
- In medium bowl add eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream, salt, black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Mix ingredients and set aside.
- Place skillet back on stove and turn heat to medium-low. Add garlic to bacon renderings and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add peas to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, or until they have completely thawed.
- Drain al dente spaghetti, then place cooked spaghetti in the skillet. Slowly pour carbonara sauce mixture over noodles while tossing to coat noodles. Add bacon back to the skillet and toss to incorporate.
- Remove from heat and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Continue to toss spaghetti until the sauce has thickened.
- Sprinkle parsley and Parmesan cheese over pasta, plate and enjoy.
- Use fresh grated Parmesan cheese. This will make the sauce much creamier.
- For a healthier option you can replace heavy cream with 1 cup of saved pasta water.
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